Associations expand online services during epidemic

AAHOA and AHLA are providing education and outreach services through their websites

Jagruti Panwala, AAHOA chairwoman, and Cecil Staton, president and CEO, said the group’s Virtual Event Series gives its members the chance to stay connected while still observing social distancing.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has accentuated the importance of online services. Now two hotel industry associations, AAHOA and American Hotel & Lodging Association, are offering new services on their websites.

AAHOA has launched its Virtual Events Series on the impact the pandemic is having on the hospitality industry, what its members need most right now and what the association is doing to help.

“The AAHOA Virtual Event Series gives hotel owners the opportunity to remain connected as a community despite quarantines, social distancing, and stay-home orders,” said Jagruti Panwala, AAHOA chairwoman.

The inaugural event included 21 livestreams, one for each of the association’s regions. AAHOA officers and directors presented updates on the industry and COVID-19 and discussed the resources available through the association’s website. State hospitality associations also are partnering with AAHOA to produce state-specific updates.

“There are so many updates coming in left and right these days. Information changes by the hour, and it can be challenging to understand what it all actually means for one’s business,” said Cecil Staton, AAHOA’s president and CEO. “These virtual events build on AAHOA’s daily updates and help hotel owners have a broader conversation about how things are looking in the industry, what they’re seeing in their area, and what resources are available to them.”

AHLA’s American Hotel & Lodging Foundation announced new online pandemic related resources on Wednesday. They include

  • Free hospitality management online courses
  • Professional development scholarships for AHLA certifications
  • Continuing education online programs, including English as a Second Language, GED, and Associate Degree College Courses

The courses are designed to keep furloughed workers skills sharp. They will continue throughout April.

“With nearly four million hotel workers losing their jobs because of this public health crisis, the AHLA Foundation aims to provide free opportunities to help employees advance their skills and education so that when we all get back to work, they are one step ahead,” said Rosanna Maietta, president of AHLA Foundation and AHLA EVP. “Our people are our greatest resource, and in their time of need, we want to do all we can to support them with free education and certification opportunities.”

The foundation also is offering professional development scholarships to cover the cost of AHLA’s professional certifications. It also provides scholarships for continuing information as part of AHLA’s Hospitality for Hope Initiative.

AAHOA and AHLA actively lobbied for the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, & Economic Security Act.